On Thursday, October 23, Albany’s WALB-TV had reported that Dougherty County voters will join four other Georgia counties where residents will be able to vote early on Sunday for the first time this weekend. One of the races that some Dougherty County voters will be able to cast a ballot is the House District 151 race. Dawson’s Ezekiel M. Holley qualified as a Democratic candidate in March and will face incumbent Republican Gerald Greene from Cuthbert (Randolph County).
Greene was one of several rural Georgia Democrats who switched parties after Republican Nathan Deal defeated Democrat Roy Barnes in November 2010. African-Americans make up fifty-five percent of House District 151 and the collection of counties that encompasses this district have mostly voted for progressive Democrats. Early County is the largest population center in House District 151 with Terrell County a close second. The following is a list of the counties that represent the district : Early, Terrell, Randolph, Dougherty (Christ Church and Darton College precincts), Calhoun, Stewart, Clay, Webster and Quitman.
Holley is well-known as a civil rights activist in Southwest Georgia and had previously served as President of the Terrell County NAACP. Holley is currently the regional director of Georgia Clients Council Inc. and is pastor of Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto.
One of the main issues Holley has stated is important is Medicaid expansion. Back in April he spoke with the Albany Herald about his position and said the following:
“That’s billions of dollars and a lot of jobs that would come to Georgia with Medicaid expansion. Look at all the hospitals that have closed their doors,” Holley said. “Think about it. That’s 7,000 people in these nine counties. If you have Medicaid, you have some coverage.”
Holley also spoke about the new gun law in Georgia and would work to see it reversed. According to Holley, overall violence would increase with the law, which would allow permits to carry handguns even inside churches, some schools and bars.
“I know that gun manufacturers are profiting by this new bill that just passed,” Holley said. “I’ve been around guns all my life, but I don’t see the need to carry one every day. We live in a violent society as it is. This will promote more violence.”
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.